Film Myths

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by randall_pukalo, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. 1. Shooting Slide Film is Difficult. My $60 Olympus Stylus Epic point and shoot compact handles even Kodachrome 64 well.
    2. Use the slowest film you can. Once true, but not any longer. Look at the grain size specs for 400 vs slower speed films nowadays. The advantage to slower films has largely evaporated.
    3.Always scan film at the highest resolution, then downsize the file later. Max resolution scans often look terrible. The grain becomes rough and horrible. Much better to scan for the size you need - for most apps you will get a much smoother, cleaner looking image. Max resolution scans are only good for landscapes meant to be printed very large, where there is enough detail to justify the magnification. For most other uses, a smaller scan size is better. the enlargement algorythms available today make it much better to start with a clean, smooth image of reasonable resolution, and enlage that, rather than scanning at the micron level to see all the unsightly grain.
    4. ...(please add to this list)
     
  2. I wouldn't say that these are myths, for they do have some basis in fact.
    Slide film is more demanding in terms of accuracy of exposure than negative film.
    Slower films do offer less grain and higher resolution than faster films. PanF and Tech Pan negs gave very sharp, grainless images compared to some of the ISO 800 and 1000 stuff that used to be marketed. I still prefer Kodachrome 64 and E100Gx films compared to others (although K200 was really nice too). Too bad everything I like is now going extinct.
    Scan using ICE. (ICE4 for Kodachrome). Scanning is a chore that I don't want to do again, so I scan at maximum resolution. You can always downsample / tidy up noise with Noise Ninja etc., afterwards from a big scan. Enlargement from a small scan doesn't add any detail - just fills up the space with empty pixels of block color.
    4) Myth: Film is a lot more work than digital to process and store.
    Film is sometimes less work than digital - especially when it comes to archival and retrieval. It is a process that doesn't need electrical power for a computer - just hold it up to the light.
     
  3. #3 is no myth. Enlarging a small file is NOT better than reducing a large one. Have you any experience scanning, or are you just trolling?
     
  4. Always scan film at the highest resolution, then downsize the file later. Max resolution scans often look terrible. The grain becomes rough and horrible.
    Agreed. For the big majority of film frames, scans above 2800 ppi or so pull out very little additional detail but will (with a dedicated film scanner) really resolve (and thereby to a significant extent accentuate) the grain. Pull up the film manufacturer's date sheet, and look at their MTF response curve. Scanning at a resolution higher than, say, that corresponding to 30% MTF response is usually a bad idea. (E.g., Provia 100F's MTF response has fallen to 30% at about 55 or 60 lp/mm, which is about 2800 or 3000 ppi.)
    Much better to scan for the size you need
    Now here I have to disagree. If you scan at a higher resolution than the real resolution of the combined effects of the film (see above), lens, and technique (e.g., hand-held!), you won't get any significant amount of additional real detail, so you'd just make the grain more visible in your bigger print. But if you scan at a lower resolution, and later want to print larger, you will have to scan again.
     
  5. 1. I wouldn't state this so broadly. Some point and shoots are utterly unsuited for slide film as they don't have enough set film speeds to deal with ISO 50, 64 or even 200 film. Having no controls over exposure is unhelpful for slide film.
    2. Are we talking slide or negative, BW or color? It makes a difference. How big are you enlarging? I think there's a huge difference between say Astia 100 and 800Z for certain subject matter printed to certain sizes. Just saying there is no meaningful difference isn't helpful.
    3. This isn't right in my experience either but I think it might be scanner dependent. I'd rather not throw away image data until later as hard drives are cheap and my time is not.
     
  6. 1. Shooting Slide Film is Difficult. My $60 Olympus Stylus Epic point and shoot compact handles even Kodachrome 64 well.​
    Oh, but it is. The difficulty is in getting enough experience with a specific reversal material so that pre-visualization works. Try shooting Provia in direct midday sun and you'll get featureless blacks, clear film base for the highlights, and cyan cast whites. It's most definitely not what you see is what you get.
    2. Use the slowest film you can. Once true, but not any longer. Look at the grain size specs for 400 vs slower speed films nowadays. The advantage to slower films has largely evaporated.​
    Not really. I shoot primarily B&W. The sharpness, noise, and resolution difference between (the best of the art) 400ISO TMY and 100ISO Acros or TMX is both profound and obvious.

    3.Always scan film at the highest resolution, then downsize the file later.​
    Always scan at the highest real resolution of the scanner. Work with the file at this resolution. Let the RIP/printer driver worry about rendering to print.
    On a Nikon 5000, for example, a 4000dpi scan is just marginally slower than a 2000dpi one - either case takes minutes, or about an hour for 36 exposures. The last thing you want having to do is to rescan for a larger print, or worse yet, having to duplicate all the post scan digital darkroom work again.
     
  7. Sometimes scanning at the highest scanner resolution is worst for the "grain aliasing" problems that can happen. But usually it is the best choice, as only at full resolution is the optical low-pass filter in the scanner (if it has one) effective. The best strategy for avoid "grain aliasing" problems is specific to the film and scanner you're using.
     
  8. Kodachrome is impossible to shoot
    It is impossible to still buy film
    Kodak no longer makes film
    You cannot have film processed
    Film is dead
    Slides are very complicated
     
  9. Slower films may allow you to shoot at your lenses sharpest aperture on a bright day, say f5.6 or f 8, if the top speed of your shutter is a limitation.
     
    • Don't pay more for pro lab processing/printing/proofing, especially C41. Labs are all the same, right?
    • Chromogenic b&w films all suck.
    • There's really not much difference between pro and consumer films.
    • 120 really isn't able to compete with current pro DSLRs in image quality.
    • Film photography is so full of diseconomies that only the innumerate still do it.
     
  10. Film isn't fun.
     
  11. Patrick - "Kodachrome is impossible to shoot
    It is impossible to still buy film
    Kodak no longer makes film
    You cannot have film processed
    Film is dead
    Slides are very complicated"

    Thats funny - I finished shooting a Kodachrome 64 earlier this year and the processing was great and seems no more complicated - maybe less complicated than a digital camera I recently used.. I didn't think it was difficult at all and sometimes I estimated the exposure and it still dame out great. This was with a manual Stereo camera and only 3 frame pairs had less than optimum exposure.
     
  12. I've found that for scanning B&W film on a Coolscan, scanning at max resolution is the best for grain (and obviously detail). Scans look much grainer at lower resolutions. However, I often scan at a lower resolution (1333 dpi) with Vuescan because it's *much* faster and more convenient to work with the files when they are only destined for flickr or something similar. It also gives me a large enough file for a 4x6 print at 300 dpi.
     
  13. Slides are more finicky than print, from what little experience I've had with them.
    Slower films do tend to offer less grain than faster. Indeed, look at the results one gets with, say, Portra 800, then compare them with those delivered by Portra 160NC.
    I'll add a "myth," though: "Overexpose negative film." All right, you'll gain shadow detail, but this advice is so prevalent, it's over-used. If your negatives are too dense, you're going to incur an unacceptable amount of contrast in your prints (all right: this is less a concern when shooting black-and-white). In the "digital darkroom," this can be controlled to some degree, but, if we're talking about traditional (analogue) printing, especially minding the severe restrictions in RA-4 paper still available, you get what you shoot, and if you shoot all the mid-tones out of your neg. by over-exposing it, you're just screwed.
     

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